Affinity Strategies

Client Spotlight: The Global Tracheostomy Collaborative

Lauren Shaffer
February 07, 2023

Many patients want their voice heard, and The Global Tracheostomy Collaborative is making sure that happens. Its membership not only includes specialists in the field, but also patients and their families who are experiencing life after tracheostomy. They serve as a reminder to focus on what matters—improving the care, safety and quality of life for everyone with a tracheostomy.

The Global Tracheostomy Collaborative (GTC) began shortly after a foundation meeting in Glasgow, Scotland in 2012. Dr. David Roberson, an ENT specialist at Harvard, brought together specialists from multiple disciplines from around the globe. Dr. Roberson’s interest in establishing the organization stemmed from an interest in supporting tracheostomy and laryngectomy patients who are many times at high risk for preventable adverse events, often leading to tragic outcomes.

In 2014, the GTC started enrolling hospitals in Boston, London and Melbourne and now have around 40 hospitals as part of the collaborative. The collaborative was approved as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in the US later that year.

In addition to patients and their families, the membership includes hospitals with a division/department that focuses on care teams for people with tracheostomies. This may include Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgeons (ENTs), anesthesiologists, speech therapists, respiratory care practitioners and nurses, and more. The hospital group members enter data into REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture), a database developed by Vanderbilt University, to assist with clinical research. GTC uses the data to help improve the lives of patients with tracheostomies.

Leaders on the GTC steering committee and at other hospitals around the world have shown that it is possible to bring about truly transformative change in the quality of care for patients with tracheostomies.

While every institution’s approach has been unique, several key drivers have been found to be critical to bringing about major improvements in tracheostomy care:

  • Multi-disciplinary care. An institution-level multidisciplinary trach committee, and a multidisciplinary ‘trach team’ that meets regularly, discusses patients together, and rounds on patients together.
  • Standardization of care. Agreeing that within your particular institution, trach care will follow a planned protocol or care pathway unless there is a medical reason to deviate from this pathway.
  • Broad staff education. Ensuring that every doctor, nurse and ancillary provider is well trained in trach care and in managing trach emergencies.
  • Patient and family involvement. Involving patients/families in improvement efforts and regularly getting feedback from patients and families.
  • Entering data; tracking your performance; bench-marking with other institutions.

“The GTC’s work spans countries and continents, with engagement of health professionals spanning over 25 countries and thousands of members spanning the globe,” said Michael Brenner, MD, FACS, President of GTC. “Affinity Strategies has expanded our capabilities and been a spectacular partner in working toward our mission of improving the life of every individual with a tracheostomy.”

Since the beginning of 2022, Affinity Strategies has served as the management company for GTC. You can learn more about the society at The Global Tracheostomy Collaborative.